California’s energy sector is hurtling towards the point of decision. Despite its reputation as a green leader, this is the #3 American state for crude oil production. In the past few years, solar energy production has grown to supply around 16% of the state’s electricity.1 A significant portion (5.7%) is supplied by rooftop solar. Though there is considerable push back from Big Oil, the California legislation’s goal of 50% renewable electricity by 2030 seems attainable. What are residential solar installation costs in America’s battleground state?
On February 9, 2015, Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) brought forward a proposal to install more than 25,000 EV charging stations within their territory. Readily embraced by environmentalists, the project faced opposition from ratepayers (questioning the value of this investment) and other electric service providers (who did not relish direct competition from a utility). Last October PGE reached a settlement with ten interested parties that reduced the project to almost a third of its’original size. Pointing out that “No proposal is supported by all parties, and no party supports all of the proposals made,”1 a California Utilities Comission (CPUC) judge brought forward a new proposed decision of his own. Only according to Tom Ashley, Greenlots’ head of government relations, the proposed terms for what is still the largest EV Charging program in North America “could have a chilling effect on utility investment in EV infrastructure.”
It has been two years since AB 327 brought the last conflict between California’s rooftop solar industry and the state utilities to an end. California’s Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) was left to decide whether the utilities could impose demand charges, grid access charges, installed capacity fees, standby fees, or fees. A proposed ruling was made today. The CPUC rejected net metering rate increases.
Many hoped California’s net-metering war was ending two years ago, when Governor Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 327. The state’s Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) was given to the end of this year to create a new tariff that will kick in once the state’s big three investor owned utilities (PG&E, SCE and SDG&E) reach 5% nameplate generation capacity under net metering. With the deadline approaching, the “big three” went on the offensive. One of the California Public Utilities Commission hearings was in San Diego, on Oct. 28, 2015. That was where County Supervisor Dianne Jacob Defends Rooftop Solar.